After reading the current posts about The Kiteboarder's "Take the Tech Out" Light Wind Test, I feel compelled to respond. My name is Paul Lang, I own West Coast Kiteboarding, and you can see my picture and read my profile in the article.
Before the test, there was a lot of negativity floating around about how unfair the test would be. Shortly after the test, more negativity because nobody was saying anything and because there was no "live video uplink." Now there is a lot of negativity surrounding the fact that there was no clear winner. Even people who acknowledge they have not yet read the article are talking smack!
Here's my view on the whole thing, as one of the testers. There was no clear winner in the magazine because it would have been impossible to choose one. It was extremely eye opening to me to see the difference in impressions the same kite would leave on different riders. Yes, there were kites that I liked better than others. However, my favorite kites would end up being someone else's least favorites! My least favorites could have been someone elses favorites! Riding style and kiter preference determines peoples' favorite kite, not judges. There truly was no kite that was either loved or hated by all testers!
What if we had declared a winner? That winning kite would work really well for people who's preference leans towards a certain style of kite. Those people would be very stoked. Of course, there would be the people who tend to prefer a different kind of kite, and they would be pissed. What if you ran to the store to buy the winning kite, but then didn't like it because it didn't quite fit your style? There is no way to make everybody happy.
I urge everyone to read (or re-read) the article. First, read the profiles about all the testers. Pick a tester you feel your riding style matches closely with. THEN read that rider's comments about the different kites. Our comments in the mag are our real comments, recorded just after testing the kite. You must realize that everyone's opinions are different, so not everybody will like the same thing.
Hopefully The Kiteboarder's article will help some people choose a light wind kite, but there is no substitute to actually trying the kites yourself. I feel lucky that I was able to test almost 20 kites over the three days of the test. Besides reading the article, talk to shops, borrow a buddy's kite, go to the beach and talk to different people flying different kites. Please, get on the water and have fun. Do not sit here on the forum spreading negativity.
And by the way, I had fun on every kite I tested. I can honestly was that there were no bad kites at the test. Get on the water and spread the stoke of kiteboarding, not the tech'd out negativity.